Obama’s Crackdown on Dissent Has Made Conservatives a Little Paranoid — and Rightly So

Obama’s Crackdown on Dissent Has Made Conservatives a Little Paranoid — and Rightly So May 12, 2015

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The year is 2023, and President Ted Cruz is ending the second of his contentious terms in the Oval Office. While his policies have been controversial — for example, undoing major social legislation (Obamacare) without a single Democratic vote — his administration’s continual expressions of hostility toward dissent have finally proved intolerable to millions of Americans.

Liberal grievances date back to 2017, the first year of Cruz’s administration, when his Department of Homeland Security issued a report declaring that fears about economic stagnation and inequality combined with liberal hatred of a conservative Latino could foster left-wing extremism. Specifically, failure to achieve comprehensive immigration reform could lead to violence. According to DHS, left-wing “extremist groups’ frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration has the potential to incite individuals or small groups toward violence.”

And since it was known even during the Obama administration that returning vets were having trouble integrating into their communities but were instead “ready to do battle,” the Cruz administration feared that left-wing extremists would find willing recruits in the ranks of former soldiers: Left-wing extremists “will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.”

Facing a firestorm of criticism from liberal activists who reminded the administration that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism,” DHS Secretary Allen West stood firm: In his statement Wednesday, West defended the report, which says “left-wing extremism” may include groups demanding immigration reform and amnesty, as merely one among several threat assessments. But he agreed to meet with the head of La Raza, who had expressed anger over the report, when he returns to Washington next week from a tour of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Concerns only deepened as periodic reports surfaced of Army briefings that list La Raza, MoveOn.org, and the Southern Poverty Law Center as “extremist” organizations similar to Hamas, the KKK, and al-Qaeda. DHS-funded reports even went so far as to redefine mainstream leftist concerns about income inequality and climate change as “extremist,” essentially labeling tens of millions of Americans as suspect.

President Cruz turned the federal bureaucracy into an engine of intolerance, with the IRS launching systematic audits of the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and other liberal nonprofits.

Conservative critics labeled liberals as “paranoid” to be concerned over the DHS reports and Army briefings, but liberals countered that Vice President Rubio himself had accused Democratic lawmakers of acting “like terrorists” during the Democrat-triggered government shutdown in 2021.

In addition, Democrats noted that President Cruz had turned the federal bureaucracy into an engine of intolerance, with the IRSlaunching systematic audits of the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and other liberal nonprofits, costing them millions of dollars in legal fees and bringing their fundraising to a near halt. At the same time, reports surfaced that the Cruz Department of Justice was attempting to “piece together” prosecutions of liberal nonprofits while — locally — conservative district attorneys were launching terrifying pre-dawn raids on the homes of liberal activists in swing states.

Even the military hasn’t been immune to President Cruz’s crackdown on dissent. His purge of generals — long noted in left-wing blogs — spilled over into the mainstream with a second-term feature story in Politico called “Cruz vs. the Generals.” Americans of all ideological backgrounds continue to express confidence in the rank-and-file soldiers, but increasing numbers of Americans believe that the top leadership has been drafted into the president’s ideological crusades.

Fear and mistrust finally boiled over in San Francisco, Manhattan, Boston, and other stalwart liberal enclaves when the Pentagon announced “Operation Crimson Hammer,” a “Realistic Military Training” exercise in which thousands of special-forces soldiers will hold exercises in New York City, San Francisco, Oakland, other urban areas. Strangely enough, the Pentagon’s own briefing slides listed deep-blue locations such as Manhattan, the Bay Area, and Cambridge, Mass., as “hostile,” while conservative exurban communities were all listed as “friendly.” Democratic lawmakers returned home to find their town halls full of leftist activists demanding answers from the Pentagon. What is “realistic” about a military operation in Central Park?

So, how would the Left respond to the mirror image of the Obama administration’s treatment of conservatives?

Read more at National Review.

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